Using LinkedIn to Improve your Social Selling Game
For salespeople, social selling is one of the most important parts of Digital Transformation. Social selling creates 45% more opportunities and allows you to outsell peers who don't use social media by 78% (Source: Forbes).
For B2B salespeople, LinkedIn is the hub for social selling. How can you make the most of this platform? Today we’re going to take a look at how you can optimize your presence and engage with potential clients on LinkedIn.
Optimize Your Profile
When’s the last time you updated your profile?
If you’ve used LinkedIn to look for a job and haven’t updated your profile since then, it’s time for an overhaul. When you were seeking a job, you were trying to appeal to recruiters and managers. Now, you want to appeal to potential clients.
Think about what clients are looking for: a trustworthy human who understands their problems and can help make their business stronger. Everything on your profile should be built around demonstrating your value to the client.
Your headline should be short and to the point. Your summary should be similarly brief and focused on how you’ve helped your current clients. The tone should be professional, but feel free to use the summary to demonstrate your personality and sense of humor.
Hubspot has provided some helpful examples here.
You can customize your profile URL to simply linkedin.com/yourfullname by clicking on the link at the top right of your profile. Doing so will ensure you show up in search results.
Make sure to include a recent photo. Including a photo on your profile leads to a 40% higher InMail response rate. If you can afford professional headshots, that’s great. If you have an iPhone, you can have a friend take a quality photo right from your phone. Either way, the photo should display your face in a well-lit setting against a plain background.
Here’s a trick from the acting world:
Before posting your photo, show it to some of your trusted friends and coworkers and ask them to describe what they see. This is not about asking “Do I look good?” but rather, “If you didn’t know me, what impression would you get of the person in the picture? How would you describe this face?” You probably want to hear adjectives like approachable, friendly, enthusiastic, and not angry or closed off. Make sure you look like the kind of person that people want to work with.
50% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn when making purchasing decisions (Source: Hootsuite). In many cases, your LinkedIn profile will be the client’s first impression of you. By demonstrating that you’re an an approachable professional in your physical appearance and that you’re an industry thought-leader in your written introduction, you will increase your chances of getting clients to engage with you.
Engage and Demonstrate your Value
By engaging on the platform, you will show clients that you are an industry maven and someone they can trust. So, where to start?
Remember that a million users on LinkedIn share over 130,000 posts each week. To stand out from the crowd, you should share content that is valuable to your clients. If you don’t write your own content, coordinate with your company’s marketing team or ask your manager for help with finding content that addresses the questions and challenges faced by your clients. LinkedIn also allows you to narrow your audience to relevant prospects and A/B test your targeting.
Hubspot has research on the best times and “sweet spots” for posting content, but statistics can vary by industry and it’s a good idea to conduct a bit of your own research to ensure that you’re maximizing exposure and response rate.
There is value to you in staying active on LinkedIn. While LinkedIn is the most frequently used B2B platform (with 94% of marketers distributing content that receives 9 billion impressions each week), only 3 million users share content on a weekly basis. In other words, if you share content at least once a week, you will get significantly more impressions from clients who are actively seeking out valuable content.
In addition to posting content, dedicate some time to joining LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your clients and engage in discussions in those groups. Tag some colleagues and clients in the comments to start a conversation. This is a great way to demonstrate your know-how and meet viable prospects.
Another way to engage is to keep an eye out for your potential clients’ personal events, like when they change jobs or celebrate an anniversary. Reaching out with a quick “congrats!” can be a great way to humanize yourself and show that you’re active and in touch.
When you’re already engaging with potential prospects in a slightly more casual way, it’ll make it much easier to approach them about scheduling a meeting.
Create Sales Momentum
While it’s not a great idea to actively try to sell anyone anything on social media, a platform like LinkedIn is a great place to make a first contact. When leveraged properly, social selling will create warmer introductions and ultimately lead to more sales.
Start by searching for relevant prospects on LinkedIn. The advanced search has fields for industry, job title, location, level of seniority, and many other things you might look for in a prospect. You can also set up a saved search so you can automatically receive a list of pre-qualified prospects.
Take a look at your list of contacts. If anyone on the list has a shared connection with someone you already work with, ask your client for a referral. 84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral.
Send each person on the list a quick, personalized message via InMail. Hopefully you’ve already checked to see if you’re in a group together or if you’ve had a discussion on a comment thread. Hopefully you follow the content that they post so you can mention something you like about their recent article or ask a follow up question. Reaching out in this way makes you seem well-connected and curious, and sets you apart from pushy, aggressive cold callers who haven’t done any research before trying to make contact.
These steps will help start the conversation, but the information you learn about prospects in this phase will also come in handy later on. Understanding their current situation will allow you to ask targeted, in-depth questions during needs assessment. You can use the challenges they’ve shared or the blind spots you’ve noticed as ammunition when managing objections. By making meaningful connections and getting warm introductions, you will allow yourself to build deeper relationships with clients and achieve your sales goals.
Get Started with Social Selling
LinkedIn is an excellent resource for B2B salespeople and engaging on LinkedIn will improve your social selling. Optimize your profile with a photo and information that succinctly conveys what you do, how you help your clients, and a bit of your personality in a professional way. Engage in discussions in LinkedIn groups to demonstrate your expertise. Encourage conversations by posting and curating content, asking questions in the comments, and tagging colleagues and clients. Use LinkedIn’s search function to narrow down the best people to make contact with via InMail. Track your progress through LinkedIn’s Social Selling Dashboard, so you can optimize your social selling efforts.
If you're already a social selling start, check out our eBook on 5 Digital Marketing Terms Applied to Selling.
About Brittany Bookbinder
Brittany is an actor, writer, and Muppet enthusiastic. She grew up on Long Island, where her hobbies included writing love poems and watching TGIF, often at the same time. These days, she writes for Evil Studios Ltd., performs comedy and music, and makes video shorts independently and with the iO Comedy Network. She has performed in independent films, regional theatre, sketch comedy and improv all over Chicago. She is also an artistic collaborator with Theater Unspeakable, with whom she co-created Superman 2050 and Murder on the Midwest Express. She has performed Superman 2050 throughout the country, including Lincoln Center in NYC and the Kennedy Center in DC. Training: She holds a B.S. Theatre, a minor in Creative Writing and a certificate in Music Theatre from Northwestern University. She has studied acting at the School at Steppenwolf and British American Drama Academy. She has studied improv in the Second City Conservatory, iO Chicago, CIC Theatre and currently at the Annoyance. Brittany is a guest blog contributor for DMTraining.